Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Recap of Celebrating Christmas 2009

Nancy Thomas Print, Black Tie Santa, 1995

Christmas Eve at our home is a quiet celebration with family. We traditionally share the evening with my husband's twin brother and his wife and daughter. No gifts, just a time to catch up, remember good times from the past, laugh, and of course enjoy some good food prepared by my talented husband. I'm still tweaking our table for Friday evening, so I thought I'd share a recap of last year's Christmas celebrations here at HFTS.

A Courtly Check Christmas was the theme in our dining room last year. We tucked one of the slim line trees into the corner by the buffet, decked it with our special glass ornaments, and topped it with a wide silk ribbon in black and white plaid.

These courtly Check ornaments were a special highlight added just days before. Aren't they spectacular? Linda @ My Shabby Rose Cottage painted these.

I wanted to set a casual, but elegant table for our Christmas Eve meal.

Those of you have read previous posts may know of my fondness for MacKenzie-Childs and especially the pieces in the Courtly Check pattern. So the MacKenzie-Childs Courtly Check chargers were a gift to myself last Christmas. I like the way the black and white checks look with our wedding china, Palermo Brown, by Richard Ginori. They provide an unexpected twist. The green beaded placemats were a Pottery Barn purchase a couple of years ago.

I often use cyclamen plants in both white and bright pink about the house during the holiday season for the delightful aromatic fragrance and the lasting blooms. Once Christmas is over, I plant them outside in the garden. Here in Texas, cyclamen are the perfect winter bloomer.

As a little party favor and to mark one's spot, I added a glittered glass ball at each place setting.

It's fun to send guests home with a little something, and what better treat than an ornament for one's own tree!

Each was tied with a Courtly Check ribbon to carry out the theme.

I placed them in a gold ball martini glass just for fun.

With the brown enamel of the Christophe Talisman silver and the brown and black accents of the plates, red napkins added a little punch and Christmas cheer to mix with the sparkly greens.

More sparkle for the table was provided with the amber crystal stemware by Denby.

My contribution to the meal. . . I baked a fresh apple pie and served it with whipped cream and . . .

these peppermint almond macrons I picked up from a local bakery.

Christmas morning I woke to a stocking full of gifts, each thoughtfully selected by my husband. This beautiful handmade European ornament was right on top and is a glittering masterpiece with intricate details. It's a French hen from the Reed & Barton Twelve Days of Christmas series. Notice the gold fleur de lys and the ermine tails that decorate this fine bird. I absolutely think this is one of the most beautiful ornaments on the tree! The fact that it is a gift from my sweetheart makes it extremely precious!

After a leisurely morning with a late breakfast and a brisk walk along the trail, we joined friends for a Christmas Day dinner at our friend Judy's home.

Her festive table was laden with plump red pomegranates and magnolia leaves from a tree in her yard. A bounty of fresh fruit and greens filled a compote at the center of the table.

Each place setting was beautifully set with Strasbourg and Winthrope silver and Spode Christmas china . . .

atop Spode Christmas placemats.

Heavy red Vietri chargers with white polka-dots held the china settings.

The cheerful bands of red and green and the whimsical peppermint inspired linen napkins made a stunning presentation. Note the beautiful antique French napkin ring. For many years Judy and I traveled to Paris each March. We would time our trips to coincide with the annual Brocante Et Aux Jambons held on the ile de Chatou and the oldest outdoor antique market in France. (Note to self: future post on Marché Jambons) Early on we discovered the charm of French antique napkin rings which are wider than most, not expensive, and the perfect size to easily carry back as a souvenir of our vacation. So over the years we each returned with one or two. Not only are they beautiful, they make great conversational topics for the table!

Saint Louis crystal stems held the evening's wine selections.

We started with a salad of fresh greens, pears, and blue cheese.

Followed by a traditional southwest meal of homemade posole and . . .

handmade tamales with chicken or pork and topped with red and green hot sauce.

All of the above enjoyed with friends gathered along each side of Judy's antique French farm table, another purchase from one of our yearly trips. Not only is this table the perfect venue for eating and conversing, it holds special memories. You see, this 9 foot table was one found at the Marché Aux Puces in Paris, another favorite antique market.

After dinner we moved to the living room to enjoy coffee and dessert around the cozy fire burning in the fireplace. The mantel was decorated with more fresh magnolia leaves and a collection of very special Christmas plates done in Copenhagen, Denmark.

These Bing & Grondahl porcelain plates are from a Christmas Around the World series done between 1995 and 2000.

Each is hand-painted and the original art of Hans Henrik Hansen.

The dining room table was filled with an assortment of Christmas sweets . . .

around this clay bowl filled with succulents within a wreath of red berries.

This sweet little Courtly Check birdie atop an intricately painted egg was my Christmas gift from Judy last year. Isn't it perfect for our CC tree? "Thank you, Judy!" and my heartfelt thanks to each of you who stop by. Have a safe and happy holiday weekend. I wish each of you good times spent with family and friends!

Please, help yourself to a snow flake sugar cookie before you head off to visit Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch where you will find beautiful tables to inspire you for the new year.